A Tribute to my Gurus on Guru Purnima

Pranams to my Gurus
  • The author offers tributes to her four Gurus on the auspicious occasion of Guru Purnima.

As Guru Purnima approaches, I offer tributes to my Gurus who have provided help and direction to me and people in the world. 

Guru = Dispeller of Darkness with ‘gu’ meaning Darkness, and ‘ru’ meaning Dispeller.

 

Guru Vandana:

Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu

Guru Devo Maheshwara

Guru Saakshaat Para Brahma

Tasmai Shri Gurave Namaha

 

Guru is like Brahma-the creator. He creates or inculcates knowledge in the minds of the students. Guru is like Vishnu – the preserver. He maintains or preserves the knowledge in the students. Guru is like Shiva-the destroyer.

Guru removes the darkness of ignorance from the students’ mind. Guru is hence the manifestation of the Para Brahma (the supreme essence) within all of us. I offer my pranams to the Guru.

 

The Guru is God manifesting in a personal form to guide the aspirant. Grace of God takes the form of the Guru. To see the Guru is to see God. The Guru is united with God, inspires devotion in others and his presence purifies all.

 

Guru is the Moksha-dvara (door to liberation). But it is the aspirant who has to enter through it. The Guru is a help, but the actual task of spiritual practice – Sadhana falls on the aspirant. It takes two hands to clap.

 

I feel a loving connection with my spiritual, yoga and artistic Gurus from previous lives. My life is on a high-flying disc since these divine folks became part of my life.

Aum in Pencil Crayon and ink on paper. Pic by author. 

First, I prostrate to Late Sri Swami Chidananda Ji, Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, India – my Spiritual Guru who initiated me with my sacred Guru mantra, Late Swami Sadguru Sivananda Sarasvati – Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, and late Swami Vishnudevananda – my Classical Hatha Yoga teacher training lineage. I was taught to teach authentic Indian Classical Hatha Yoga by disciples of Swami Vishnudevananda, founder of Sivananda Yoga and Vedanta ashrams.

 

Both Swami Chidananda and Swami Vishnudevananda were disciples of Swami Sivananda whose lineage goes back to Adi Shankaracharya Ji who taught Advaita Vedanta. Words cannot express my appreciation for my spiritual mantra initiation and subsequent yoga teachers training and teaching experience. Yoga is the centre of my life.

 

Next I prostrate to Guruji Prosenjit Deoghoria – Sangeet Pratishtha Music Academy, Toronto, Canada – My Artistic Guru – Hindustani music: Vocal and Harmonium. Guruji Prosenjit attained his Sangeet Visharad and Sangeet Nipun i.e. Master of Music Degree from the Bhatkhande Sangeet Vidhyapeeth, Lucknow, India. He was the first prize winner, in 1993, of the Maharishi Award in the All India Music competition of khyal singing organized by Maharishi Gandharva Veda Vishwas Vidyapeeth. Guruji was also awarded, in 1991, the National Scholarship by the Department of Culture, Government of India for intensive training in classical music.

 

Guruji Prosenjit has also created his own more than 400 Khyals compositions in different Ragaas and Taals. He is in the process of the compiling them in the form of a book on Indian classical music.

 

My life, breath and voice has taken on an ineffable sweetness since Guruji accepted me as his student three years ago.

My New Bansuri Painting, Oil on Canvas, I presented to Guruji Deepankar Ganguly. Painting & pic by author. 

I prostrate to Deepankar Ganguly, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada – My Artistic Guru – Hindustani music, Maihar Gharana: Bansuri.

 

From a young age the Bansuri, or the Indian bansuri, captured his imagination. Guruji Deepankar learned the Bansuri from his father initially, then from his guru Late Pandit Malhar Rao Kulkarni. A traditional teacher of the Bansuri, he teaches this wonderful wind instrument in the tradition of the Guru-Shisya Parampara (teacher-disciple tradition). He emphasises dedication, peace, connection of the breath most essential for any wind instrument player to enhance the latent inner qualities of individuals.

 

Finally, I prostrate to Varna Sandeep - Varnanjali Natyalaya, Ajax, Ontario, Canada– My Artistic Guru – Bharatanatyam Dance.

Bharata Natyam is a classical Indian dance form which is a unique blend of footwork, expression and flexible body movements in a meditative state. Varna Ji is the disciple of Smt. Subha Vaidyanathan and Smt. Vidya Venkatesh, of Rajeswari Natyalaya, Chennai. Both her gurus were disciples of Kalaimamani Smt. Krishnakumari Narendaran who runs the Abhinaya School for Bharathanatyam in Chennai. They practiced in the famous “Pandanallur bani” of Bharathanatyam.

 

Bharathanatyam had been part of her life since the age of six. It continues to be her most favourite passion along with music and writing. Varna Ji believes that extensive reading and research of Indian history and tradition paves the way to create and present beautiful, poetic and revolutionary ideas through dance. She has choreographed several Kautuvams, stuthis and padams in Bharathanatyam that have won her acclaim.

Portrait of my Dance Guru Varna Sandeep presented to her as gift, in pencil crayon and Ink. Pic by author.

Varna Ji has given more than fifty performances and is in collaboration with Madras Arts and Cultural Association, the Durham Tamil and Malayali Association, Toronto Malayalee Samajam, Devi Mandir, Richmond Hill Ganesha temple, Kanthaswamy society and Hindu temple.

 

Through the years Varna had the opportunity to dance at various stages including the Tourism department Government of Tamil Nadu in 1999, where Bharatanatyam was to be presented as a symbol of tradition to international tourists.

I feel blessed to find such an authentic dance guru in Canada. She accepts students of all ages and encourages us to perform annually to help propagate Bharatiya culture.

 

I consider myself blessed to be accepted as her beginner student a few years ago at age 50 + and feel like a sixteen year old dancing for Shiva in my next traditional piece, called Pushpanjali, at this year’s annual dance recital. 

 

This only proves that age is just a number. A dancer should be in yogic realm and also demonstrate skillful steps set in accordance to the rhythm of the music on stage in order to render the meaning and pleasure of art to the audience.

 

May all lives be blessed by Guru's grace! Om Shri Gurubhyo Namah.

 

To read all articles by author

 

Also read

1 An Offering on Guru Purnima

2 On Guru Purnima, a Tribute to my Gurus 

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